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Pittsburgh 6/27/2017

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Good crowd tonight – long walk-up line 30 minutes before step-off. Weather was cool and partly cloudy with sun in the audience eyes for first three corps.

I don’t talk too much about drumlines and color guards.

GENESIS – Feel-good story. Nice balanced brass line with a modicum of stick-outs. Good trumpet soloist. Accessible music. I do not like the piped-in wide-eyed young girl character preaching about ‘imagination’ throughout the show. Nice brass line singing during Pure Imagination, then squeaky girl. Received an enthusiastic standing ovation, which obviously meant a lot to the members. Welcome to World Class. Seventh, 55.2.

SPIRIT OF ATLANTA – After a forgettable few years, time to feel positive about Spirit of Atlanta again. Really like the musical selections, especially Eric’s Song and Shofukan. Classy and sharp uniforms. My ten-year-old son loved the drumspeak. The corps seemed very aggressive; not timid, as if they were uncomfortable with the show, something that an early season Spirit in years past would have been. So, yea Spirit. Sixth, 61.0.

TROOPERS – An inspired performance on what must have been a terribly sad day for the 11th Cavalry. Nessun Dorma is just a treat. My ten-year-old loves the swordfighting. They do need, I think, to improve transitions and characterization, and the drill – well, let’s just say it’s everything that is stale in DCI. If I saw one I saw a thousand: rotating blocks; rotating (squads?) of four members; files (better dress left, Troopers, or change the drum solo drill); follow-the-leader; hornline blocks sprinting at each other during a drum break and then forming a big block for a power chord, horn arcs. Dress right, cover down. It’s not just the Troopers. But frankly, as long as I can listen to Nessun Dorma, I don’t really care all that much. Fourth, 62.4.   

COLTS – I saw them from outside the gate, because I needed to go back to my car during intermission to get my card to get, ironically enough, a Colts fidget-spinner for my ten-year-old. So I didn’t hear much music, but I like the color palette and the transition from black-and-white to color in all the visual aspects. I refuse to believe that it’s the same visual staff that came up with those atrocious light-boxes from last year. Fifth, 62.1.

CROSSMEN – The Crossmen the past two years seem to be falling into one of the grooves a corps gets when they are building on a product year after year. Just an energetic show with recognizable music and a nice balanced hornline with some real oomph. The chart from A Beautiful Mind has a good rhythmic feel up and down the musical ensemble. Happy with the tuba section. Some nods to the history – starting with the ‘question-mark’ set which ended the 92 show. Really amazingly awesome French horn soloist. Placeholder sideline loud ending which I’m sure will change. A lot of the same complaints about drill design that I had with the Troopers. Third (only 5.7 points behind the defending champs!), 69.1.

CADETS – At ensemble rehearsal the night before, I was the Faithful. At the show, I was the Fallen. Too much front ensemble, like way too much front ensemble. Did I mention, too much front ensemble? I am willing to posit that it might have been where I was sitting – 40, side 2, with an overhang. But I noticed the same the night before with no overhang. I am serious, I could not distinguish the hornline. I heard more of Genesis’s hornline than of Cadets. I know they’ve made a big deal of the vocalists, and they are fine, but I wish they would feature them and the brass separately instead of having the vocalists sing with the hornline. On the other hand, George Hopkins, who was pacing the track like a caged tiger, seemed to be happy with the drumline’s progress. I noticed a couple of improvements. Maybe by August, I can be the Forgiven? Second, 71.9.

What the BLUECOATS show description should be: ‘It’s a jagged line. We hide under it. We stand and play and spin on it. We run down it. We march through it. Then you get off your ##### and scream your fool heads off and clap until your hands are raw and bleeding, because we’re that much fun. Enjoy the show.’ Bari/Euph soloist NAILED it tonight. Should have been farther ahead of The Cadets. First, 74.7.

Is it ironic that my son opened his new fidget-spinner while the Bluecoats were playing Hymn of Acxiom in their encore?

Thanks for reading.






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Great review! Does any other director get noticed as much as Hop?


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Thanks for the detailed review, and for not being afraid to be opinionated!


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